You knew they did. We knew they did. But they’d never admit it — until now.
Anyone who has downloaded the last couple of updates on their iPhone knows that everything runs slower, and the battery seems to die much faster. Now comes an admission from Apple that you’re not nuts.
“Apple on Wednesday said a software feature released last year makes your phone operate more slowly to offset problems with its aging lithium ion battery,” CNet.com reported. “As batteries get older, they don’t hold their charges as well as newer batteries, and can have worse problems when the charge is low or the temperature is cold.”
The aging battery means your phone could have trouble operating or might unexpectedly shut down, like happened to the iPhone 6 and 6S last year. The processors in those devices wanted to hit faster speeds, but their batteries couldn’t handle the demand, prompting some phones to simply switch themselves off.
To address that, Apple’s iOS software, starting with last year’s iOS 10.2.1, included better power management capabilities, the company says. The operating system slows down your device to prevent it from shutting down, Apple says, but only in cases of cold temperature, a low battery charge or very old batteries.
Last year’s software applied to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 6S and 6S Plus and SE. This year’s iOS 11.2 extended the feature to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It will be applied to other Apple devices in the future.
So, Apple has messed with almost every phone but their very latest models, the 8 and the X. The company says they did it to help users.
“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said in a statement.
“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
Geekbench all but forced the admission out of Apple.
John Poole, founder of Primate Labs, the company behind the Geekbench processor benchmarking software, said “the problem is due, in part, to a change in Apple’s iOS operating system, perhaps as part of a ‘fix’ for an issue with some iPhones shutting down suddenly,” Cnet reported.
“This fix will also cause users to think, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace it’ not, ‘my phone is slow so I should replace its battery.’ This will likely feed into the ‘planned obsolescence’ narrative.”
Perhaps that’s why the Apple store is so packed right now — people are replacing their crummy old phones with new ones — that Apple will one day brick again.